Day 1: Mountain Driving for Deer
An effective man-drive often takes far fewer people than most hunters assume. Two men can drive deer as well as 20 men. But the hunters must understand each other’s hunting methods as well as the movement patterns of the deer. Let's look at the techniques of two mountain hunters, Bill and Thurmond, who prefer for their last names to remain anonymous. Bill and Thurmond have hunted in the hills long enough to know the bottoms and the sides of the mountains where the deer like to bed. Their style of hunting usually lets them take from four to six deer per season together. Thurmond explains, "Bill and I will generally get together before daylight on the day we plan to hunt and decide which ridges and hollows we’ll drive. Actually driving probably isn’t the right term to use. Slipping may better describe what we do.
To move the deer, one of us will slip from the bottom of two hills up a draw to the top of the hill. The other hunter will stand silently at the top of the hill. We’ve learned that the hunter who slips through the woods often will get a shot at the deer. But more than likely he’ll cause the deer to move up the draw toward the standing hunter. Utilizing this method we’ve discovered that instead of running from the driver, the deer will slip and look back at the hunter walking up the draw. Some hunters mistakenly try to make noise to spook the deer. If a hunter does spook the deer and drives the animal past the other hunter, often the deer will be running rather than walking – presenting a much-harder shot. Using our technique of slip driving, I’ve slipped up on a deer, shot and taken him before he’s moved up the ridge."
"If Thurmond is slipping, and I’m standing, knowing what time Thurmond will begin to drive toward me is very important,” Bill emphasizes. “Often a deer will be close to the top of a ridge. As soon as he smells, sees or hears Thurmond, he’ll begin to move out of his bedding area. I've taken several nice bucks within 10 minutes of the time Thurmond has started slipping. There are a couple of keys to successful two-man driving in the hills. First you have to have a pretty good idea of where the deer are. Next, you have to know the escape routes the deer most often will use to leave a bottom or a hollow. Finally, you have to know exactly when the hunter will start to move and make sure both of you wear hunter orange. We only use this driving tactic during a bucks-only season. That way if we spook any does or if there are any other hunters in the area, we decrease the chance of accidents."